tv Your Business MSNBC May 19, 2012 5:30am-6:00am EDT
small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that is why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc. hi there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome the "your business" where we give you tips and advise to help your business grow. how does a small business stand out from the competition and keep customers coming back in well, you may want to try an extra helping of hospitality and it is a tool that is important not just for restaurants and hotels, but any service-oriented business, because being likable can make you bankable.
>> did you just put that on the menu? >> i did yesterday. >> yesterday? did you sell any yet? >> we sold ten yesterday which is exciting. >> you sold ten on day one which is easy for tonight. >> yes. >> and danny meyer owner of the union square hospitality square, and he has been running some of new york city's most successful restaurants for two decades. >> if i had to pick between being the best or the favorite, i would go for the favorite. >> there are places out there who have better technical service than we do, but we believe it is the whole experience. >> mark maynard parisi is the manager for the smoke restaurants. >> i don't believe that most of what we do is to unique to restaurants, so whether you are a consultant or retail store or a plumber, you should be able to treat your customers in a certain way. >> they believe their extra emphasis on hospitality distinguishes their restaurants, and they say it pays off.
>> it pays off hugely to offer great hospitality, and as a matter of fact, if you look at the zagat's survey, every single one of the restaurants in a city of 26,000 restaurants is among the top 50 of new york's favorite restaurants. and i didn't say new york's best restaurants. >> and what is the secret? how do they know what the customers are really thinking? >> well, it is a good question. i am looking at the guest's eyes and if they are looking at each other, we are doing a great job. if they are looking around, we are not doing a great job. if the food is taking too long or someone's glass of water is empty, they are going to look around. so, that is the first thing we look at. and then usually from that, we get clues as to what is wrong. we just sometimes will ebb gauge that guest and say, good afternoon, and while we are saying good afternoon, it gives us an opportunity to see what's
up. >> and seeing what is up, mark says, starts before the guests are seated. >> we do actually spend a lot of time reading the table or the reading of the guests. when you come in, you have a certain look on the face, and it is our job in a split second to figure out the mood you are in. if you look like you are with your friends and out to have an incredibly good time, we might amp up the energy, or if you are tense or seem to be nervous because maybe you are here for a job interview or something like that with a lunch meeting, we might sort of calm our voice down a little bit. >> with all of the attention with the customer's comfort, it might be surprising to learn that the customer is not their number one priority. >> put your customer second, absolu absolutely, because if you really want to have great customer satisfaction, your customers will never be any happier than the people who are working in your company. >> we believe that relationship between the management and the staff is the most ime pornt relationship. and from there, our guests will necessarily be taken care of.
>> and one of the toughest tasks of hospitality comes when somebody on the restaurant team makes a mistake. it can take teamwork to fix it. >> and we really ask our teammates to be incredibly creative and image anytive and how do we fix this mistake and have a better response? >> you cannot unspill a glass of wine, but you can do something to make amends, and this way, you can write the last chapter. >> you need to first ask the question, what can i do to make this right? >> carrie matthews, the manager at blue smoke says no secret formula to make it right. sometimes somebody may not be hungry, so an extra order of french fries is not the trick. so it is not hospitality to give them something to placate them. you want to know what it is that is genuinely going to make them
happy, and maybe they are in a rush and you need to get them out of here as quickly as possible. >> it is critically important to embrace the mistakes and end up in a better spot. >> we ended up in a situation where the host crossed the name off, and we were on an hour and a half wait, and the bar was pack and that is difficult to turn it around. >> i got this guy, and he was, i think he was even swearing as kari was apologize to the table and i approached them to guide them through the menu and everything, and he was still so angry, and it takes a lot to keep your calm, and to like keep held thpg person who just hates you. and just keeping there for them and keep trying to correct et. >> and the key is really expressing to people how sorry you are, and that you made a mistake and owning up to it. >> and danny and mark are quick to distinguish this type of hospitality from what people call customer service.
>> they are using the word in the wrong way. what service means is that a restaurant or any type of business did the things that they were supposed to do. when they talk about hospitality, and what they are talking about is how did the provider of that service make the recipient feel, and they are completely different things. >> and this focus on making people feel good, they say, is key to overcoming the unexpected challenges any business faces everyday. >> try to do what it takes to make sure that at the end of the day, whatever somebody came into our restaurant with, they leave feeling slightly better than they came in. if we can do that, then our restaurants will have served the purpose. the customer service lessons from the hospitality business can easily translate to many small businesses. let's turn to rob kirtz from
"huffington post" small business and david marks is a strategist who is author of the book "new rules for marketing p.r." >> i am hungry after that, and let's ee's go to lunch. >> yeah, well, coffee until then. one of the things i loved in the piece no matter how mad people are, make them happy. often times we get people calling us up who is so upset about things that are not our fault, and how do you make them happy and how do you challenge the employees to make the cu customer as happy as you feel as an owner. >> well, it is a classic challenge. the challenge is to get the ownership to the people, and make them feel as though they are a partner as well and they have a vested interest as well, and of course, you could compensate them somehow, but make it part of their business. you think about something like a restaurant or i travel a lot, airplane flight, and it is an
experience, and the challenge is, you know, i can pick any airline to get me from a to b, but it is the experience of six hours in a metal tube that is important, right. >> and you want to -- i don't want a staff of employees, but a staff of entrepreneurs and empower them and give them flexibility to comp a drink owhatever it may be, and they are happier in their job and as a result you will have a better team as a whole. this is something on the show that we talk about all of the time, every business fundamentally is a service business. of course, the restaurant industry is fundamentally, but regardless of the industry, you will never win on price or bring the customers back because of price, it is always service. >> the best line in all of this is that we were smiling at is put the customer second. >> what a crazy notion, right. >> and it is surprising that it would come out that way. >> it is surprising, but when you talk about people giving people ownership and being entrepreneurs and getting involve and if you are emp powering people, you care so much about the employees they
pass that down to the customers. >> and it helps with so many things like retention and building a great team to replicate, as you allude ed d t the place piece, that this guy owns a number of business, and it is easy to replicate. >> people want to be trusted. and where i see it falling down is when the employer says you cannot be on facebook or twitter at work, and what do you mean, you don't trust me, and when you say, i trust you to do the right thing, then they magically, the work becomes better, and they do have a vested ownership, because it is we and not us versus them. >> and finally the idea of hospitality or service is what you are supposed to do and hospitality is bigger than that and getting them happier when they leave than when they come in. >> it is an interesting concept, because sometimes when i go to restaurants, i'm alone and i'm on a business trip and i want to get in and out quickly. i don't want the experience. and all of the flowery stuff if
i'm with my family, great, but when i'm on my own, i bring my newspaper, and get me the food and get me out of here. and in the restaurant that recognize recognizes that, what great hospitality, and even though it may not be in the rulebook that you get this guy in and out fast. >> and to that, listening. >> and watching. great. thanks, guys. >> yes. >> if you want expose sure for the small business, sometimes you need to grab the spotlight for yourself. here are five simple ways that you can become a household name courtesy of, inc.com. one, publish a book. ebook can submit your expertise. and consider giving a portion of the book free on the website to generate awareness. two, create your own video series. keep the videos short, and grab the viewers in the first five seconds and don't cover more than three key messages. three, start a news letter or magazine. check out the digital solutions like zenio and other
publications. and four, build blogs. there are a lot of blog platforms to choose from. some are free and some cost a monthly fee, and whatever you choose, make sure that you have posts to share with linkedin, twitter and google plus links. five, contribute to the community forums, volunteer to speak at common frenference eve within your field. and if you have items in similar prices, how do you get the sale? international sales training expert grant cardone is founder and ceo of three businesses and also a new york times best selling author of "sell or be sold" and how to get your way in business and in life. great to see, you grant. >> yes, great to see you, j.j. we will concentrate on business and then on life. >> okay. >> if i have a product and i want to put a high price tag on
it, you say that is okay. i don't necessarily have to get into a price war or i don't want to get into a price war, but give it a wow experience. what is that? >> well, it is a major mistake made by small entrepreneurs and business owners to think that they have to underprice their product to move it to the marketplace. sometimes a lower price actually means no value to a consumer, and especially since this major contraction that we went through, the biggest single mistake i have seen businesses do is to immediately try to lower the price. there is only one lowest cost provider in any market for any product and it is a precarious tight rope to walk. >> what is the wow experience? how do you give a wow experience for beautiful china? sdwlel w >> well, i don't know if i can show this, but this is delivering the wow experience. >> the iphone. >> and they bank $98 million in cash by selling a phone at a time when people don't have money. this is a great example.
if i take this coffee cup here and say what it is worth? well, to one person, a quarter and another, $2, but people have to understand they don't buy price, but whatever this can solve. they don't buy products either. >> so yu is so explain to them how you are solving the issue. >> why do you want the cup? why do you want a cup today? that is the great question, why did you come to my company today and why not yesterday or three days the ago or three months ago and why today? well, because i broke all of the china and i have a party tomorrow. well, that solves the problem. >> when you ask the question and get the answer, that sells the product. >> you want a celebrity of the product, and whether it is cups or phones or whatever, you want the authority or the expert or the go-to guy. when i think coffee kups,cups, e to do it. one of the company goals is to get me as the number one
authority in sales training so when a client thinks sales training, they think me. if i'm the top thought of the person by blogging, social mediums and twitter and writing articles and doing things like this, price will not matter. you can look at celebrities in the tv world. they command a higher price, because they get viewership, and people believe them, and they have credibility. >> and also, because people feel they are getting value. >> right. >> for what they are -- it is not necessarily going for the lowest price but the highest value. >> right. and these are completely different conversations. one is price, and the other is value. when value exceeds price, price is no longer the issue. >> and value comes from the third party endorsements, in par part. >> it could be referrals, third parties and other people saying things, and i saw an article and look i believe in who you are and what you are doing, and maybe giving money to the cha charity and i don't care what i am paying and here is the money, i want to support you. >> and bundling gives value.
>> and bundling is what has been used for hundreds of years where you put things together, and it is a way to not compete on price so that i'm not selling just the coffee cup, but putting these two packages together. not everybody wants to be at the 99 cent store. some people actually would rather buy two things than one thing. one other short tip is second money from the customer is the easiest money to get. once they release and make a decision, because that is the problem, price is not ever considered the problem, but it is can i make a decision. >> yes. >> and during periods of economic contraction people are so uncertain in their ability to make decisions they put the emphasis on the price, but they are not sure of themselves, and you have to be there to say, how do i add value of the proposition and not a dollar's worth of value, but maybe charge them $20 and solve the problem. >> this is great not only for
times of economic crisis, but all times. >> money is survival. >> thank you, grant. i appreciate it. >> okay. >> when we come back, a viewer asks if this is a good or bad time to start a small business. well, if they ask richard branson that question, he'd probably say, take a risk. the flamboyant head of companies like virgin atlantic weighs in on the importance of reinventing in the days of the pros. ♪ i want the fly like an eagle to the seanote ♪ you know, those farmers, those foragers, those fishermen.... for me, it's really about building this extraordinary community. american express is passionate about the same thing. they're one of those partners that i would really rely on whether it's finding new customers, or, a new location for my next restaurant.
when we all come together, my restaurants, my partners, and the community amazing things happen. to me, that's the membership effect. so as you all know every once in a while we have a "learning from the pros" segment where we interview a very successful entrepreneur and this week we enlisted rod kurtz to help us. >> well, sir richard branson and i have had the privilege to know him over the past few years and i was down at the virgin america launch in philadelphia recently and i asked him that every entrepreneur in the world looks up to you, so what is your advice for them? ♪ little thing that you do >> little things matter.
and what makes for a great restaurant is the owner being there, you know, often cooking in that restaurant and getting every single little detail right. and that's where, you know, private-owned restaurant where the chef is there, you know, it stands completely apart from the, you know, a chain of restaurants. so the challenge for a small airline like virgin, as we get big ser to rger is to run it lil restaurant. every time i'm on the flight or david curb who runs the airline day today and all of the people are on the flight, we have the notebooks in the back pocket and talking to the staff and the passengers, and you know, we are taking notes, and we are making sure that, you know, there is no detail left unturned. ♪ >> at virgin, we have been able
to build a few hundred companies. if i tried to do everything myself, we would have had one company and if we had that one company since it was music shops, we would have been bankrupt today, because obviously the industry has moved on. surround yourself with great people, and look for the best in those people. ♪ i just got to get a message to you ♪ >> ten different people will have a great idea. we actually launched something very similar to the ipad, you know, the same time that apple launched it. they got their marketing right, and you know, we didn't. they got the design right, and we didn't. they won. there is no point of coming up with a great idea unless everybody knows about it, and what you have to try to do is to get yourself on the front page of the newspapers and even if it is making a fool of yourself or trying to make people smile at the same time. rather than a footnote in the back of the newspapers. free advertising is an awful lot cheaper than, you know, full page ads. ♪
>> i have a slogan called screw it, and just do it. if you have to be thrown into deep end in the swimming pool with the parents watching you, the chances are you will end up swimming. the best way to learn to run a business is to try it. by getting out there to try it, you will just prove struggling and trying, you can become an entrepreneur, and i think that applies to most people. and if they fall flat on their face, they will try again and the next time around, i suspect they will be successful. it is time now to answer some of your business questions, and rod and david are with us again. the first one is an e-mail and i had an investor to open up a casual restaurant and we found the ideal space but after signing the lease, the investor withdrew his support. today, other people in town don't want to partner with me, or provide a short-term loan,
and the bank won't loan me money, because of my credit, and what should i offer the next investor, and fantastic question, because it happens all of the time. >> tough situation. >> what the investors are doing is to mitigate the risks. they are happy to give money if it is not too risky. so build a fan base before you go to look for the money. if she wants to start a restaurant, build a fan base of clients that she has for the catering business and then get people to vouch for her, and maybe a blog or a twitter feed where people are connecting with her, and say, i have done all of the catering jobs and all of these happy customers and now i want the next step with the restaurant. >> it is tricky situation because more and more restaurants are getting the start as food trucks and once they have established the loyal following going into the brick and mortar location. and the take away is to get the investment money signed before you sip on gn on to that locati
and we are hearing from the businesses more and more tougher to get a loan or outside inves t ment and one thing she did not mention is community banks and credit unions which were not swept up in the financial mess and are lending to the smaller businesses and something for everyone to consider there. >> and the kick-start sort of creative organizations, and amanda palmer for example raised $6,000 in eight days to do the indi record, and maybe it would work here, too. >> and we had comfort dollars and you buy $500, and you know, you give me $500 and i will give you $600 of food when it opens and people are invested in coming also, and they will bring their friends. >> or give me $1,000 and i will throw a dinner party for you at your house and then use that money for the house. >> you have to get creative. >> yes. this is about the geography of
running a business. >> how do you build community and build a successful business while living in multiple locations? >> i think it is easier than ever. i mean, social media and we were talking about it earlier, you can be anywhere and run a company anywhere and build that community online. i have a good friend who runs a sun glass and accessory company, and its founding mission is on travel. he is traveling literally all over the globe and that is part of the journey to bring the customer s customers and the fans with him. and that can extend to almost any business. >> right. that is what i do. i give speeches all over the world and i have little commu communities in the little cities that i go to. next week in london and i will meet people that i know there because i can connect with them on social media and on twitter and facebook and linkedin. >> we were chatting on twitter this morning and saying looking forward to being on "your business" this morning. >> yes. >> and there is no reason she can't have an event in that particular place as you said you do, and keep in touch with them over the social media.
>> yes, it is an advantage that she is traveling a lot, and if you are isolated in one place, it is hard to reach. >> and it gives a reason for the meeting. i'm in london, let's meet up. >> and i think that people who have one location are at a disadvantage because people believe that it always has to be in person. let's have lunch or whatever it might be and say, hey, i live 6,000 miles away, and let's connect on twitter. >> move to the next one. this is a question of the right time to launch your business. >> is it crazy to launch a start-up in these economic times? >> i'm going t going to answer no. i assume you agree, but why? >> the best time to start a business is now if you have a great idea. a great idea can survive tough times and we talked about kick starter and ways to get inves t investment in a tough economy, an even in to a good economy a bad idea will sink. if you have a good idea, get the
ducks in a row, and you will be fine. >> and in a tough economy, some of the marginal players are out of business and you have more potential market for yourself particularly if it picks up. it is a fantastic time to start a business whenever we are in a recession or a slow time, and great time. >> and things are cheaper. things are cheaper. >> you can get employees maybe easier to find them, and office space or whatever you are looking for. >> historically, if you look at the trends the number of start-ups in the during and after recession goes up because of that reason, because people are out of work and say enough is enough, and i will get out there to be my own boss, so when everybody else is hunkering down, it is the best time to go on the offense. >> and the first point is the most important point which is if you have a good idea. and really, the idea of the economy being strong and the economy being weak is almost irrelevant to if we start a business, don't you think? >> well, everybody has good ideas and you walk up to
everybody on the street, and everybody has a good idea and i think i should, but it is the execution that matters and somebody who executes is the one who is going to succeed. if you never execute, you will never succeed. now is the right time. >> get out there and do it. >> get out there and do it. thank you very much, guys, for your help. very insightful. if you have a question for the experts all you have to do is to go to the website. the address is openforum.com/your business. once you get there hit the "ask the show" link and submit a question for the panel. again the website is openforum.com/your business or if you'd like e-mail us your questions and comments. the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. rod and david had helpful advice on how to improve your business and now let's get some great ideas from the small business owners like you. >> my advice is to embrace technology and advancements.
there are so many social forums and blogs where other businesses share their feedback and advice, and success stories. >> for a lot of companies, and in the service industry, don't be afraid to put somebody out there to give educational seminars and give them for free, and offer them breakfast and everybody loves a free breakfast or lunch, but the seminar is a great way of attract iing peopl educating them about your business and what your services are, and getting a greater exposure out there. >> don't be afraid to share what you are doing, what your ideas are with other entrepreneurs. some of the best support that i have gotten and some of the best advice i have gotten has been from other entrepreneurs who are, you know, starting out or have a few years of experience. >> having trouble staying organized? then check out our website of the week. high-rise hq.com helps to get the work life in order.
the site will save and organize personal notes and e-mail contacts. you can create personal pages and create tasks and link notes to them, and that way on top of all of the leads and deals. to learn more about today's show, click on our website. it is openforum.com/your business. you will find all of today's segments and web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. you can follow us on twitter. it is @msnbcyourbiz. next week we will talk to an entrepreneur and learn how this former ebay executive learned what she tapped from the giant when she starred her own company. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg and remember, we make your business our business. they have names like idle time books and smash records
and on small business saturday they remind a nation of the benefits of shopping small. on just one day, 100 million of us joined a movement... and main street found its might again. and main street found its fight again. and we, the locals, found delight again. that's the power of all of us. that's the power of all of us. that's the membership effect of american express. so in this election everything old is new again. for example, the plane that candidate mitt romney flew from jacksonville to palm beach in florida yesterday, that was exactly the same plane john mccain used during his presidency four years ago. uh s